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Flight Life Magazine June 2022 Issue

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March 2022 / Volume 5/ Article 64www.usaeronauticalhistory.comJune 2022 / Volume 5/ Article The Pitts SpecialDea "Cooper" Payette

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1 www.usaeronauticalhistory.comUSAHStaffUnited States Aeronautical History (USAH) is a non-profit organization that was established and dedicated to preserve, educate and maintain the history of aviation in the United States and abroad. USAH is committed to making sure the history is kept alive, archived and accessible for the next generation. We are devoted to the aircraft, aviation equipment, and the stories of those men and women; from the 1903 Flyer with the Wright Brothers, to present day aviation, both Military and Civilian.We feel it is imperative to keep the existence of our Military and Civilian Aviation alive to allow our youth to explore and gain the knowledge of the great history that would otherwise be forgotten. At USAH, we are able to provide this through monthly digital magazine issues, documentaries, photos and videos. We work to support the collection and archive of information as it pertains to aviation.Here at USAH we cover many aerial events such as; U.S. Military/Military Decommissions, Commercial Aviation, Pilot, Air Shows, Experimental, Air Racing, Aerobatic, Expos and simply put...everything aviation.USAHP.O. Box 56Claymont, DE 19703(302) 927-1133 We want our Military of All Branches........those serving currently and veterans, that you are never are always in our thoughts and prayers to keep you close to God's angels and to protect you while protecting our freedom and bring you home safe.Jimi Simmons: V.P.Photographer/Videographer & JournalistShawn Byers Senior Editor Photographer & Guy Spumoni Chief EditorHarry Bristow/U.K.Videographer &PhotographerDave "Hey Joe" ParsonsMilitary Liaison &Contributing EditorCONTENT1. Featured Article-Pgs. 3-12....... Clemens "Chef" Kuhlig by Jimi Simmons 2. World Flight Brief Segment-Pgs. 13-16..... The Curtis Pitts by Jimi Simmons 3. Women In Aviation-Pgs. 17-21......Dea "Cooper" Payette by Jimi SImmons

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2 www.usaeronauticalhistory.comYOU CAN FOLLOW US ON If you or your company is interested in being a corporate sponsor in the production of "Flight Life Magazine", please contact us ! We have many avenues of advertising through USAH! USAH would like to thank our advertisers in this issue for their support and confidence in Flight Life Magazine:* Britt Lincoln Aerobatics * IAC Chapter 38 * Author Steve Snyde

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3 www.usaeronauticalhistory.comPhotos by HEY JOEC L E M E N S " c h e f " K U H L IG

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4 www.usaeronauticalhistory.comArticle by Jimi SimmonsPhoto by Joshua KrugC L E M E N S " c h e f " K U H L IG

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5 www.usaeronauticalhistory.comIn this month?s issue of Flight Life Magazine, we bring you Airshow Pilot, Clemens "Chef" Kuhlig. Chef grew up in Connecticut and Rhode Island. Being on the coastal waters of the east coast, Clemens and his family did a lot of sailing when he was a kid.?My dad built small wooden sailboats for a while when I went to high school in Norwich Connecticut. I was on the tennis team and ended up tenth in the state my senior year.I reside in Florida now, about 7 miles from my local airport in Stuart (KSUA)?, stated Clemens.Chef began flying model airplanes when he was about five.Starting with hand-launch gliders, rubber powered free flight, control line, and eventually RC. He went to his first Airshow when he was about seven.?I saw the Red Devils fly their three red Pitts Specials. In a few years they became famous as the Christen Eagles. This was when I really became interested in Airshow flying.I started flying gliders when I was 14 in Elmira, N.Y. and I was a private glider pilot by the time I was 16. I flew glider?s in a small glider club in Connecticut while I went to A&P school?, stated Chef.After earning his A&P license, Clemens had a hard time finding a job in the field.?I began working in kitchens just to have a job.I worked my way up from dishwasher to line cook over a couple years. I started to make enough money to start my private pilot training. I flew with some local instructors then finished up at a flight school at Groton New London airport (KGON). Since I was already a glider pilot, I had good basic stick and rudder skills. Looking back, I would say I was lucky that I learned at that time, as this was before GPS and electronic instruments, navigating with a map, compass, and VOR. The first thing I did when I obtained my private license was take an aerobatic course in Cape Cod in a Super Decathlon .In those days you could rent a tail wheel airplane solo, so I did a basic five-hour course and was able to fly aerobatics solo! The course consisted of all the basic elements; loops, rolls, inverted flight, and upright and inverted spins. The hardest part for me was motion sickness. It took a little while to overcome, but I just kept my practice flights short and gradually overcame it?, stated Chef.Chef as a young boy.

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6 www.usaeronauticalhistory.comClemens began traveling north in the summer and south in the winter cooking in country club kitchens, so his flying during this period was sporadic (hence where he obtained his call sign of "Chef). "I began working in a club in the winters that?s not far from where I live now. There are a lot of air parks in Florida and I happened to find aerobatic instructor Tom Bent that had a Decathlon and a Pitts S2-A. I flew the Decathlon a couple times with him and then he brought out the Pitts. We started training for aerobatic competition, flying Sportsman level sequences. I managed to finish fifth in my first contest and I won the second, scoring the highest out of all other Pitts pilots and winning the second Pitts trophy! I had about 30 hours of Pitts time! That first contest flight was also the first time I soloed the Pitts", stated Chef. "In the few years after that, I maintained a Pitts S1-S for a friend. In exchange, he let me fly it for fuel. My kitchen career was getting more demanding with more responsibilities, so I didn?t fly much for several years. I?d occasionally go out to fly with Tom when I had time, but for the next 10 years or so, that was about it.In 2004, I had a job as a Chef at a very nice club here in Hobe Sound, Florida. It paid well enough for me to start flying more often. I also met my future wife, Michele, during this time. She and I bought a house near the club in 2008. In the course of my time away from flying, insurance requirements ended any hope of renting a tail wheel airplane solo. The only way I could fly an aerobatic airplane was to own one, but that was out of reach. My instructor, Tom had a Pitts S1 project in his hangar that I knew the history of and I had built the top wing for years before and the fuselage was welded by an expert Pitts builder". "I bought it in 2010 and took it home to begin working on it.It was a lot easier to work on at home and because the Pitts is so small, the complete airplane could be assembled in my garage.I worked steadily over the next 3 years to complete the airplane, covering and rib stitching at home.I loaded it onto a trailer and took it to Tom?s hangar for painting and final assembly in late 2012.There?sstill a paint booth shaped red square on the floor!"Chef in his Pitts Special.

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7 www.usaeronauticalhistory.comChef's Pitts was ready to fly in early 2013, and after a delay for a TFR, he test flew it in February. ?The flight went very well and my DAR included Lakeland (KLAL) in my test area.I flew it to Sun? n Fun that April with 17 hours on it, and went home with the ?Best Homebuilt Biplane? Award! Just a short while before the test flight, I left the food service career behind and started working on airplanes full time. Now I was fully immersed in aviation. While I was practicing and testing, I began researching how to become an airshow pilot. I was already developing a routine I could fly, but then what? I had to get an evaluation from an ACE (Aerobatic Competency Evaluator). In my case, there were two here in Florida. Patty Wagstaff and Keoki Gray. The first one I?m sure everyone recognizes. I called Keoki.For those that don?t know, Keoki flew in the Red Baron Squadron and before that the Holiday Inn Team. We sat and talked for hours about flying airshows. He went through what to expect in the briefing, weather, pyro, and all things related to being an airshow performer. Then I went out and flew while he watched from the ground. Then we had a detailed debriefing. Looking back on it, he gave me an incredible amount of information and knowledge which was very useful. One example is; when you first start out you have a hard deck of 800 feet AGL. He recommended that I develop a flat show. With my floor at 800 feet, it doesn?t give me much room if the ceiling is low. At some shows, we can fly with as low as a 1000 ft. ceiling. This turned out to be a valuable piece of advice. At my very first show, I had to fly a flat show because of weather?, stated Chef. Chef winning "Best Home Built Bi-Plane" Award at Sun' n Fun 2013

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8 The goal for airshows is to get a surface level waiver. It?s a slow process, and it took Chef about 2.5 years. ?The steps are 800-feet to 500, to 250, and then to the surface. Each step requires 12 airshow performances at least 6 different sites to be eligible to move down. Then another 12 at 500 to go to 250.At 250, it goes to 16 performances to get to the surface. Each step requires another evaluation. After I obtained my 800-foot card, I started going to Patty Wagstaff for my evaluations. She has become a great friend and mentor. Since I earned my surface card, I?ve added a ?Circle the Jumper? and ?Inverted Ribbon Cut? endorsements. So what does one do after getting the surface card? Get better?, stated Chef. I had asked Chef what other planes he owns, flies and how many hours. ?My Pitts is the only airplane I?ve ever owned, and the only airplane I fly. I have about 1800 hours total time now, and 1000 of that is in my Pitts. My logbook is mostly filled with small tail draggers?, stated Chef.What is so unique about Chef's Pitts is that he basically has built the plane from the inside out, which has him knowing every constructed detail he built in it. So it is obvious that he has all his hours in a plane that has become an extension of his body, and it shows when he flies!Chef flying his Pitts inverted just feet above the runway at Sun' n Fun.

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9 www.usaeronauticalhistory.comI had asked Chef what inspired him to perform in airshows, and here is what he told me. ?My airshow is inspired by the legends I watched as a kid. The Red Devils, Jim Parker, Leo Loudenslager, Art Scholl, and Jimmy Franklin. In these times of the high-powered super monoplanes, my Pitts S1 is a nice contrast and a chance for folks to see an airplane that dominated world competition 50 years ago! I pull about 5.5 G?s positive and push about 4 negative. I?ve gradually tweaked my show over the years, dropping an element here or adding one there. The goal for me is to fly as consistently as possible. My theory is that by doing the same thing over and over, a small error is easier to recognize, before it becomes a larger one. The beauty of the ?work your way down? system is that any errors you might make as a new airshow pilot are not as lethal because you?re up high. Having Patty, as well as many other airshow pilots to ask questions is an invaluable part of the process. One of the most important aspects of learning this craft is to do just that?LEARN. If a seasoned airshow pilot suggests something, you need to be willing to listen and think about what they are saying with no bias?, stated Chef. I asked Chef what he loves about flying in airshows? ?For me, it?s the 8 minutes of total immersion in the task. When I?m cleared into the box, the world goes away, and total concentration, interpreting conditions, positioning, etc. That airspace is all mine. That?s a neat aspect. When I shut down, then it becomes fun. I make it a point to walk the entire fence line signing cards and talking to the fans. It?s important to me that the fans know that there is a regular person flying that airplane?, stated Chef.Chef loves engaging with the fans and teaching the younger generation about aviation.

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10 I asked Chef to take me through his routine for an airshow from the arrival to performance. ?I can get about 1000 miles in a day flying cross country.With no wind that?s usually 3 fuel stops. At 160 miles per hour and about 1 hour 50 min legs, that?s an 8-hour day from departure to destination. With the technology we have now the cross-country part of airshow flying is much safer. I have a G5 horizon, navigation and weather is via an I-pad running Foreflight with a Status antenna. I start watching the weather a few days before. I?ve been stuck behind weather a few times, but not for more than a day or two .I usually fly cross country at about 2500 feet. With learning any complex task at a high level, talent and natural ability helps, but it?s a lot of time, practice, determination, and sacrifice to be successful. You can?t be in a hurry. It?s all about just doing what?s in front of you the best you can?, stated Chef. I asked Chef what makes the 'ideal' airshow pilot. "I think two root causes of trouble are rushing, and distractions.I will not rush. This requires careful planning, but this is a rule I never break. Distractions can be harder to detect when you?re in the middle of it, but equally important. I lost a smoke oil cap or two because of distractions, and am better at recognizing them. Much like a pro golfer, a ?pre-shot? routine becomes a very important aspect of airshow flying. You don?t pull the trigger until you?re ready. Preparation is a key element. I?ll try and have everything on the airplane ready to go the day before the performance. This makes the morning of much easier. I really don?t talk to many people BEFORE I fly. I prefer to try and stay calm and concentrate my flight, anticipating wind and visualizing the entire performance, what I expect to see as far as my ground references, watching how the pilots before me are handling the conditions", stated Chef.Chef flying his Pitts racing a drag funny car at an airshow.

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Chef looks forward to all the shows he flies. "The Culpeper Air Fest in Virginia and Warbirds Over Monroe in North Carolina are shows I like returning to because they were the first ones to hire me at the end of 2013. I just flew Sun? n Fun 2022, which was an original goal of mine in the beginning. That was pretty special", stated Chef.I asked Chef what he would recommend to anyone looking to enter into the airshow business and here is what he had to say. "If I were to advise someone who?s aspires to fly airshows, I would say go for it. But know this, it takes a long time, is hard, frustrating, dangerous, and costs a lot of money. But if you stick to it, it?s incredibly rewarding", stated Chef.Chef works a full-time job as a mechanic working on corporate jets at Precision Jet Service. "If I?m not flying shows, I have a few small airplanes that I take care of on the side for hand-picked customers. Airshow flying is more than just flying the airshow. There?s practicing, marketing, social media, designing hero cards, maintaining the airplane, keeping up on correspondence with potential airshows, etc??. It?s far from just the 8 minutes the fans see. But that is the best part!", stated Chef.You can follow Chef on his website at www.chefpitt, along with his social media; facebook Clemens Kuhlig and IG @chefpittsairshows.11 www.usaeronauticalhistory.comChef and his Pitts Special.

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13 We found it only fitting to follow up our feature article on Clemens ?Chef? Kuhlig in our World Flight Brief segment, and write an article on Chef?s plane, the Pitts Special.Before we go into detail about the Pitts Special, I feel it is important you know the man that designed it. The plane and creator Curtis Pitts was an American designer of a series of popular aerobatic biplanes, known as the Pitts Special. Pitts grew up in Americus, Georgia and his first airplane was a Waco F. He designed and built the S-1, specifically for aerobatics, in 1945. He also designed the Pitts Samson, built in 1948 for aerobatic pilot Jess Bristow. The Samson was destroyed in a mid-air collision around 1950. The Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC has called Pitts' 1943 design "revolutionary because of its small size, light weight, short wingspan and extreme agility". This great craftsman and pilot passed away of complications from a heart valve replacement at his home in Homestead, Florida on June 10, 2005. Pitts was inducted into the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame in 1991, and the Air Show Hall of Fame in 2002.The Pitts Special is a series of light aerobatic biplanes designed by Curtis Pitts. It has accumulated many competitions wins since its first flight in 1944. The Pitts biplanes dominated world aerobatic competition in the 1960?s and 1970?s and, even today, remain potent competition aircraft in the lower categories.T h e Pit t s SpecialCurtis Pitts at Sun' n Fun 2004.Article by Jimi Simmons

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Curtis Pitts began the design of a single-seat aerobatic biplane in 1943?1944. The design has been refined continuously since the prototype first flew in September 1944; however, the current Pitts S-2 still remains quite close to the original in concept and in design.Several of the aircraft that Curtis Pitts built had a picture of a skunk on them and were called "Stinkers". After she bought it, aerobatic performer Betty Skelton called the second aircraft that Curtis built, "Little Stinker". The prototype S-2, which was the first two-seat Pitts, was "Big Stinker", the prototype Model 11 (later called S-1-11B) was "Super Stinker", and the prototype Model 12 was the "Macho Stinker". In 1962 Curtis Pitts set up Pitts Enterprises to sell plans of the S-1C to home builders.Certified versions of the Pitts are now produced by Aviat Aircraft in Afton, Wyoming. It is available as the S-1 single-seater with an up to 200 hp flat-4 Lycoming engine and a 17? 4? wingspan, or as the S-2 two-seater variant featuring a 260 hp flat-6 Lycoming and a 20? wingspan. Pitts Specials have been equipped with engines of up to 450 hp. Plans for the single-seat Pitts S-1S are also available from Aviat Aircraft. The S-1C and derivative S-1SS plans and kits are supplied by Steen Aero Lab in Palm Bay, Florida. Many hundreds of home builders have successfully completed and flown the Pitts since plans became available in 1960.The model we are going to talk about is the Pitts Special S-1S. In 1960 Curtis Pitts introduced the homebuilt Pitts S-1S as a more competitive version of the S-1C Pitts Special, a small but highly maneuverable aerobatic biplane. The agile S-1S has four ailerons to boost the roll rate, and its symmetrical airfoils allow it to perform maneuvers in any orientation. The S-1S went into factory production in 1972. The Pitts S-1S Special biplane reigned as the ultimate competition aerobatic aircraft in the early 1970?s. The U.S. Aerobatic Teams of 1970 and 1972 won the world team championships flying the Pitts S-1S almost exclusively. It remains one of the world's most popular aircraft for basic to advanced category competition, aerobatic training, and sport flying.14 www.usaeronauticalhistory.comThe Pitts Special S-!S.

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15 www.usaeronauticalhistory.comAs with Chef?s Pitts Special, the S1S, it features precision wings with longer ailerons, larger tail surfaces, integral gap seals, one piece carbon fiber floor, many hand formed custom fairings, spring gear, and many more. The engine is a lightweight IO-360 from Barrett Precision Engines. About 200 hp spinning a Prince Carbon Fiber Prop.The "Roundwing" Pitts was certified in 1973 and about 65 were built, though the exact number is fuzzy due to the crossover with the S1-E. The S1-S has symmetrical airfoils on both wings with identical angles of incidence, and four ailerons. A different airfoil is used on the top (forward most) wing to make it stall first whether upright or inverted. (Curtis patented this idea.) Only factory-built S1-S's were available until production stopped in 1981 and Curtis released the plans. Unauthorized third-party "S1-S" wings (Sparcraft, etc.) began to appear in the 1970's, and "home-built" S1-S's from before 1981 are either S1-E's or don't have Pitts-built wings.Almost paradoxically, the Pitts Special design itself was a major factor in the development of modern aerobatics. The design proved to be versatile enough to keep up as pilots explored new fire-breathing, eyeball-popping wild aerobatic maneuvers. Refinements were made, and the Pitts is still a competitive, serious aerobatic machine that regularly wins major contests and is perennially popular with aerobatic performers.To this day, the Pitts Special S1 remains the benchmark by which all aerobatic airplanes planes are judged.Chef and his Pitts Special performing at an airshow.

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16 www.usaeronauticalhistory.comGeneral characteristics of the Pitts Special S-1S are as follows:·Wingspan- 17? 4?·Length- 15? 6?·Height- 6? 6?·Cockpit- Single seat.·Empty weight- 1,000 lbs.·Max take off weight- 1,500 lbs.·Cruise speed is 154 mph. with a max speed of 185 mph.·Range- 309 miles.·Rate of Climb·Powerplant- IO-360 Lycoming, 200 HP.The current inverted flat spin world record is 98 set on March 20, 2016 by air show performer Spencer Suderman over Yuma, Arizona. Suderman flew the Sunbird S-1x, a Lycoming IO-540-powered experimental variant of the Pitts S1. The maneuver began from 24,500' over the Yuma Proving Grounds and was recovered at 2,000' AGL. The previous world record for the number of consecutive turns in a flat spin was 81 also set by Spencer Suderman on March 13, 2014 in a Pitts S-2B from 23,000? altitude over the Naval Air Facility El Centro.

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In this month?s segment of Women In Aviation, we bring you Dea ?Cooper? Payette. Cooper was adopted at age 4 from South Korea and her family moved around often so all of called the USA home. She has been to all 50 States and currently flies out of KBFL.I asked Cooper how she first became interested in becoming a pilot and when she obtained her PPL. ?The moment I stepped onto the plane to go to my new life in America, I knew I wanted to fly one. It wasn?t until much later that I had the opportunity to become a pilot. Two weeks after I had my fifth child, I took the Discovery Flight, three days after the flight I booked training and six weeks later I earned my Private Pilot Certificate,? stated Cooper.Cooper informed me of how long her training was to become obtain her PPL and what the most difficult part of training for her PPL. ?The most difficult part of training was finding an instructor. I ended up going through three flight schools and 8 instructors before I found the right match. I was taking the Accelerated Program that was intended to finish in four weeks so there was a two-week delay. This may not sound like an issue to most but I had five children at home which one was a newborn,? stated Cooper.Although Cooper has her PPL, she is a helicopter pilot as well, and I was curious what additional training she had to receive to fly one. ?The Helicopter Add-On doesn?t require you to re-take the written exam.Otherwise, it is the same as fixed need to solo, cross country and check ride.As with all training in aviation, everyone?s hours will vary," stated Cooper.18 www.usaeronauticalhistory.comDea "Cooper" PayetteArticle by Jimi Simmons

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Cooper currently has the following endorsements; high performance, tail-wheel and short one hour to have complex.?The aircraft was taken off line indefinitely and I live in a rural area that I have to find another complex airplane. It happens and all you can do is move forward. Originally, I had considered going into the airlines as I was introduced by Jeppesen to many companies. As I have gotten more involved with the aviation community and the helicopter industry, I realize that my path probably will lead me into Charters or Part 135,? stated Cooper.Cooper currently flies the Cessna 182, R22, J3 Cub and P22/Super Cub seaplanes.?I typically fly the C182 because of the Air Races that I compete in but hoping to do more in Robinson helicopters. I can?t say there is a favorite because each aircraft does something special and allows me to go to unique locations. R22 I can land on mountain peaks. The J3 Cub is great for grass landings, and the P22/Super Cub allows me to go where there is no land!? stated Cooper.Since Cooper flies both planes and helicopters I asked to explain me the differences and which one would you say is more difficult to learn and earn the rating in. "The difference between flying a plane and a helicopter is that you have to switch left to right. Everything else is pretty much the same. Use the skills that you have learned to fly. The helicopter rating is a bit more difficult because it costs twice as much!", stated Cooper.I asked Cooper to tell me and our audience about "Hangar 22" and her involvement in the program. "Hangar 22 is about getting new student pilots scholarships and flight gear that they need to continue the pursuit of their aviation dreams. It is made up of a team who all have experience in different areas of aviation. One of our top priorities is that the community we build works together, not in competition of each other," stated Cooper.As we all now, everyone had been affected in some way by the Covid Pandemic. It was a question I wanted to ask Cooper as this has caused changes and complications in19

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everyone's lives. "As many others have experienced, we had job loss and training slowed down during that first year.I took to social media to connect with other pilots. That helped me to stay motivated to keep flying! Never in a million years would I have ever imagined to find such a warm welcome.Since then, I was able to attend my first EAA Airventure in Oshkosh to give away over $5,000 worth of flight gear to pilots from all across the country. I was able build a relationship with the Helicopter Association International. They have given me the opportunity to attend my first HAI Heli-Expo in Dallas March 2022 and also take two other pilots who have the desire to grow in the helicopter industry. On Wednesdays I challenge people on social media to tell me #whyifly so that they are inspired to find a new place to go. Every Friday I feature #flyanewfriendfriday to encourage people to share their love of aviation with new friends. Instead of the pandemic slowing me down, it has helped me to keep focused on my goals," stated Cooper.Cooper's future goals is she has a check ride scheduled the day of her birthday so that is her short-term goal. Immediately after that she will begin training for her Commercial Certificate. Her absolute favorite place to fly to is Hawaii. "There is so much to see and the flight rules are so unique to me. I also enjoyed landing on a glacier in Alaska. Each time I fly, I try to land at a new airport so I don?t often go to the same place," stated Cooper.As with every pilot I interview I always ask him or her, "what makes the ideal pilot"? "The ideal pilot is one who continues to be passionate about flying, sharing the joy with others and dares to try new adventures as a pilot," stated Cooper.On Coopers down time she loves competing in pageants. "I recently placed First Runner Up at the Mrs. United States Pageant. I am a former Ms. Petite International and former Mrs. United Nation International title holder. The past four years I have been competing in USPSA Shooting Competitions and training for Three Gun. I also love to ride my Ninja through the countryside for some quiet moments. In the summer I take people20

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white-water rafting and provide lunch all for free," stated Cooper.At the end of our interview I asked her what she would recommend to anyone looking to start their pilot aviation dream. "The first step is to SHOP around for your instructor. There is not an instant connection every time and that connection is so important for flying. I recommend to join organizations such as Women in Aviation and attend aviation events. That was a quick way for me to meet people in the industry and also get some direction. Before I started, I did not know anyone in the industry. Going to events, conferences and chapter meetings was a great way to find scholarships, pilot friends and help to get the information that I needed to move forward. Most importantly, do not give up!" stated Cooper.You can follow Cooper on the following platforms: YouTube Channel at COOPER THE PILOT, Tik Tok at@cooperthepilot, and her IG at @cooperthepilot and @hangar22.official21

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